Doris - Storm Doris (Album Review)

While the London-based group Doris were "born out of a stormy night," there's an energizing quality to their precision-sharp blend of shoegaze and dream pop. The ensemble is composed of three core members; lead vocalist Romy Jo, who sings with a dulcet sweetness that floats over strong foundations of rock, the guitarist Andrew Lancaster, who gets impressive use from his 6-strings, drawing unexpected sounds and tones from thin-air, and keyboardist Jerry Lane, who brings a depth and nuance that swirls around the guitars and vocals. Featuring collaborators Joseph Johns on bass and Jonny Maiden on drums, Doris strike an unexpectedly finessed first note on their confident debut album Storm Doris. 

With the garish album cover, self-referential title, and dearth of press materials, Doris makes an aesthetically questionable first impression. However, their sound is immediately melodic, alternatively accessible, je ne sais quoi. While the opening track, "Down", represents their mid-tempo, check-the-boxes side, the group comes to life on "Old Bones", a poignant track with sleight-of-hand guitar work and ultra-restrained vocals that eventually find release. 

Storm Doris was recorded in an old army bunker in the Cotswolds by producer Hugh Fielding, and its sound is highly polished, bright, and impactful, if not militaristic straight. Songs like "Lonely Rose" and "Supernatural Sex Dream" teeter on the more bland end of indie rock, though more bite and ambiguity are to be found on the tempic and melodic "Cult" and "Spy Girl", while the closing track, "Under the Sun", is an epic, seven-plus minute psychedelic jam highlight that reveals Doris are perhaps most effective when playing for themselves and not for others. Through patient hooks, smooth performances, and honest songwriting, Storm Doris doesn't quite rattle as its title suggests, though it is certainly a harbinger of a group capable of making an impressive impact.